Archive for June 2012

A good night! G’night!

I recently purchased a new mattress. Ahhhh, how wonderful it is to sleep to well! The thing is, though, I didn’t really recognize that I wasn’t sleeping well until about a month before I decided it was time to buy a new bed. I was waking up feeling stiff. I was having some trouble falling asleep. These were symptoms that are unusual for me.

So, I thought about it. Was I stressed? Not particularly. Was I exercising too hard? No, consistently the same. What else could be going on? … Oh. My mattress was 15 years old!

When I went shopping with my husband for a new one, I asked how long a mattress normally lasts. I was told that it depends on the quality, but probably 7 to 12 years. Well, even new, our old mattress was not on the top quality list, that’s for sure! So, how did we manage to get 15 years out of that thing?

I think that part of it was staying healthy. Eating right. Exercising regularly. Getting tune up treatments.

It makes sense that a body that is well cared for is going to be able to handle stressors more readily. Does it cost money to be healthy? Yes, but in the long run it’s probably saving me lots of money too. No pharmaceuticals. No trips to the hospital. Very few sick days off of work. Few injuries. And a cheap mattress and box spring that lasted us for 15 years!

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What drug could be killing you?

Am I exaggerating? Sadly, no. But many people are taking this class of medications…NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs). You might recognize the names as ibuprofen, naproxen, indomethacin, or celexocib.

“Since the mid-80s, more than 300,000 Americans have died of NSAID complications, and 1.7 million were hospitalized.”

NSAIDs can cause gastrointestinal bleeds, actually destroy your joints (though they are often taken for joint pain!), increase cardiovascular risk, and even contribute to erectile dysfunction.

The article details: Healing the NSAID Nation

There are many natural supplements, foods, and treatment alternatives for managing inflammation and pain! Inflammation and pain are major causes of many of the health issues I treat daily. So, if you are taking an NSAID, consider that there are other options!

 

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Chocolate for Health

You’ve probably heard that there are health benefits to eating dark chocolate. Well, it’s true, dark chocolate can be healthy. Of course, it’s important not to overdo it and also to look for 70% or higher cocoa content. What a perfect world if everything could be cured by dark chocolate! Well, not everything can, but it can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Check out this study for details:

The Effectiveness and Cost Effectiveness of Dark Chocolate Consumption as Prevention Therapy in People at High Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

 

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My Connection to Oprah!

Ok, so I haven’t met Oprah and I haven’t been interviewed by Ophrah herself. But, Oprah does have her own tv network and I’m on one of the show’s on OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network) called Buy.O.Logic. Here’s a link to the episode that I am in. This particular episode is called “Boobs on my back”. The host Isla is a super fun and talented woman who came in to see me for acupuncture and cupping. She had never had acupuncture before and was very nervous about it. The “boobs” reference is to the fact that I did cupping on her back and because of the suction into the cups, the lifted tissue does look unusual. Here’s a link to the show info: http://ownca.oprah.com/Shows/Buyologic.aspx

And here’s my section in the episode…Boobs on My Back. Note that there is a short black screen section (seems like nothing is going to happen) partway through my clip, before they show the cupping (it was once a commercial). I’ve also kept in the section that has a review of the anti-nausea bands that I often recommend to patients as they use the acupoint P6. Enjoy!

http://youtu.be/T4OB1AV-Q1c

 

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What info do your eyes hold?

Last month I was in Germany. I went because I was excited to learn more about some of the products that I use for my biopuncture treatments. The four full days of training were amazing, but the big surprise for me was that I learned something that I hadn’t anticipated to be as interesting and as useful as it turned out to be.

Dr. Kay Kaemmerer is the naturopath who led most of our training and even invited us to visit his clinic to observe him in action. We watched him use complex diagnostic tools and computer programs, simple observational skills, and in-house laboratory tests. His treatments drew on conventional western medicine techniques (mostly diagnostic), Traditional Chinese Medicine treatments (mostly seven-star needling, cupping, and some acupuncture), homeopathic and homotoxicology treatments, and more.

As I mentioned, however, constitutional iridology is what I focused on learning. It is through close inspection of the iris of the eye that we can see where the body has tendencies toward weaknesses and possible disease. We all know that all of our eyes look different from each others’. But, the differences are so much more noticeable with the use of a magnifying glass. Each eye is like a fingerprint, a blueprint of your own health.

In TCM, I already use pulse and tongue diagnosis as part of my tools in assessment of a person’s health. Constitutional iridology gives me more insight into the possible root causes of current illnesses, as well as a focus on preventative measures that can be taken to avoid weaknesses toward future disease.

Check out these pictures and see just how different the eyes can be! And let me know if you want to learn what your eyes “say” about your health.

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Guest Post: Homeopathy

Hello, my name is Christy Zettl. I am a professional homeopath and one of a few University trained homeopaths in Western Canada and on the West Coast of North America. This week I thought I’d share why I became a homeopath and why I entered an industry fraught with controversy and misconception.

At 19, my chronic eczema was cured by a homeopath. This was after just two appointments and two doses of a homeopathic medicine. Eczema was something I’d always had. Some treatments worked for awhile or not at all, but it would always come back.  At the time I knew nothing about homeopathy; my mom had booked the appointment and I begrudgingly went. I sat and talked with him. He asked detailed questions about the eczema, noted its appearance, but then asked a whole host of other questions I thought completely unrelated. Amazingly, two doses of a homeopathic medicine it was gone.  And it hasn’t come back, nine years on. More than that, it was like my mind had cleared, I felt at peace, my reactions to situations were more in balance and my overall level of energy had increased. Most importantly, I could directly attribute it to the homeopathic treatment I received; there were no other variables. In other words, I was not taking anything else for it, I was not using any conventional creams, nothing else had changed in my life that would explain my eczema’s rapid and complete disappearance.

I was going to the University of British Columbia but after this, I became very curious about this mysterious medical science of homeopathy. I learned about a homeopathic degree course in London and off I went.

I came back to Canada in 2010 with a mission: to bring lasting health and balance back into people’s lives by maintaining the highest standard of practice and promoting homeopathy’s regulation in BC, as it’s been done in Ontario. I am currently Membership Secretary of the BC Society of Homeopaths (www.bcsh.ca), a non-profit organization committed to promoting excellence in homeopathic practice. All of its members are bound by a Code of Ethics. We are working to get homeopathy recognized as a distinct profession, which will in turn open the doors for wider insurance coverage.  Accessibility to homeopathy and standardization in care is absolutely crucial to a more widespread acceptance of it.

Homeopathy has a two hundred year history of anecdotal evidence (i.e. what has been observed in practice) and we are now starting to build a body of modern scientific evidence to support this.  Most recently, The Swiss Health Technology Assessment (HTA) report on homeopathy was published at the end of 2011. This extensive and authoritative report by the Swiss Federal Government offers an unambiguous endorsement of the evidence base for homeopathy A research portal, http://www.audesapere.in has compiled all the research available on homeopathy and www.extraordinarymedicine.org is a good place to start learning about homeopathy.

There are certainly challenges ahead in this industry, but allaying popular misconception and replacing it with real evidence-based education is a good step in the right direction. Homeopathy is a complete system of medicine that has the ability to successfully treat and cure a wide range of conditions by triggering your body’s self-healing ability.

Christy Zettl has practices in Vancouver and Kelowna and volunteers her time with Sidebyside Homeopathy, a non-profit organisation providing free treatment to Vancouver Downtown East Side residents.
zettlhomeopathy.ca 604-877-0728

 

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Kidney Support

The kidneys are essential for filtering the blood and removing wastes, which are then eliminated via the urinary bladder. The kidneys also regulate electrolytes, maintain acid-base balance (critical to health and life), and regulate our blood pressure.

Put your hands over your lower back at waist level and say “thank you” to your kidneys! To help support your kidneys:

  1. – Limit your exposure to toxins. Limit alcohol and processed food consumption.
  2. – Look at your medicine cabinet. Are you taking a lot of medication? Every pharmaceutical has side effects and needs to be processed by the liver and kidneys. Do not stop any prescribed drugs without advice from your doctor. But, consider that if you are taking ibuprofen (e.g. Advil) daily or frequently, this is damaging to your kidneys.
  3. – Consider that anything you put on your skin will also be absorbed into your body and, if toxic, will affect your health. Though quantities of chemicals might be low, if used regularly, they can accumulate.
  4. – Look at your household cleansers. Does the bottle have a skull and crossbones on it? Consider that there are alternatives, including simple baking soda, vinegar, and lemon combinations and many healthier packages detergents and cleansers on the market.
  5. – Spend some time away from the city near lots of plants (plants help to clean the air).
  6. – Drink plenty of water through the day as dehydration can also damage the kidneys.
  7. – Foods that support the kidneys include apples, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, cranberries, cherries, red grapes, cabbage, cauliflower, garlic, onions, red bell peppers, egg whites, fish (sardines, mackerel, herring), olive oil, fresh raw nuts and seeds (walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds), and legumes.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) also associates the Kidney system with other functions in the body, so additionally you could:

  1. – Work on your fears. Are they limiting you? What fears are not serving you?
  2. – Keep your ears healthy. Find silence. Avoid loud sounds (use earplugs when you need to) and do not turn up the volume when you wear headphones.
  3. – Lift weights. Lifting weights does help strengthen muscles, but it also builds stronger bones. Bones are connected to the TCM Kidneys. Manage your stresses. Your adrenal glands sit on top of your kidneys and pump out your stress hormones. When stressed, your adrenals have to work hard to pump out adrenaline and/or cortisol, which can further stress your body.
  4. – Tap lightly on your back, in the muscles to either side of the spine, at the level of the waist to stimulate the Kidney energy.

Acupuncture, Chinese herbs, supplements (ask me about Thuja), and other treatments and lifestyle changes can also help.

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Liver Support

Processing of dandelion at factory in Germany

The function of the liver is to assist with detoxification, digestion, hormone production, metabolism, blood sugar regulation, and storage of blood. We need our livers for survival, but sometimes we aren’t particularly kind to this very important organ.

Put your hand over the lower part of your right ribcage and say “thank you”. Here are some tips for supporting your liver.

  1. – Limit alcohol and processed food consumption.
  2. – Look at your medicine cabinet. Are you taking a lot of medication? Every pharmaceutical has side effects and needs to be processed by the liver. Do not stop any prescribed drugs without advice from your doctor. But, consider that if you are taking acetaminophen (e.g. Tylenol) daily or frequently, this is damaging to your liver.
  3. – Consider that anything you put on your skin will also be absorbed into your body and, if toxic, will affect your health. Though quantities of chemicals might be low, if used regularly, they can accumulate.
  4. – Look at your household cleansers. Does the bottle have a skull and crossbones on it? Consider that there are alternatives, including simple baking soda, vinegar, and lemon combinations and many healthier packages detergents and cleansers on the market.
  5. – Spend some time away from the city near lots of plants (plants help to clean the air).
  6. – Squeeze half a fresh lemon into room temperature or warm water and drink first thing in the morning to help support the liver.
  7. – Foods that are also good for your liver include turmeric, artichoke, garlic, grapefruit, bitter leafy greens (dandelion, endive, chicory), avocado, green tea, walnuts, cruciferous veggies (cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, and brussel sprouts), beets, and apples.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) also associates the Liver system with other functions in the body, so additionally you could:

  1. – Work on letting go or working out angers, frustrations, and irritabilities.
  2. – Keep your eyes healthy. Follow the 20:20:20 rule. Every 20 minutes, spend 20 seconds looking 20 feet or more away (approximately).
  3. – Stretch! Tendons and ligaments are associated with the Liver according to TCM.
  4. – Keep a regular schedule with meals and sleep, as best as you can. The TCM Liver regulates cycles. Don’t confuse your Liver.
  5. – Exercise. Movement helps the circulation.

Acupuncture, Chinese herbs, supplements (ask me about Quassia), and other treatments and lifestyle changes can also help.

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Lymphatic Support

The lymphatic system is made up of lymphatic vessels, lymph nodes, and lymph fluid. It is part of the circulatory system, delivering nutrients, oxygen, and hormones from the plasma. The lymphatic system also removes excess fluids, pathogens (bacteria, viruses), dead blood cells, cancer cells, waste products, and other toxins from the fluid between the cells.

Sounds important, right? It is! When the lymphatic system isn’t working optimally, we may suffer frequent colds, puffiness, symptoms of toxicity, fatigue, skin problems, and inflammation, amongst other things.

To support the lymphatic system:

  1. – Limit your exposure to toxins. Limit alcohol and processed food consumption.
  2. – Look at your medicine cabinet. Are you taking a lot of medication? Every pharmaceutical has side effects and needs to be processed by the liver. Do not stop any prescribed drugs without advice from your doctor. But, consider that if you are taking acetaminophen (e.g. Tylenol) daily or frequently, this is damaging to your liver.
  3. – Consider that anything you put on your skin will also be absorbed into your body and, if toxic, will affect your health. Though quantities of chemicals might be low, if used regularly, they can accumulate.
  4. – Look at your household cleansers. Does the bottle have a skull and crossbones on it? Consider that there are alternatives, including simple baking soda, vinegar, and lemon combinations and many healthier packages detergents and cleansers on the market.
  5. – Spend some time away from the city near lots of plants (plants help to clean the air).
  6. – Squeeze half a fresh lemon into room temperature or warm water and drink first thing in the morning to help support the liver, and that helps reduce toxins in the body.
  7. – To pump the lymphatic system, try:
    • – Rebounding: jumping up and down on a small trampoline
    • – Alternate hot and cold in the shower
    • – Dry brushing: use a natural bristle brush to brush your whole body, using long strokes, always toward the direction of the heart
  8. – Sweat. Exercise or use a far infrared sauna.
  9. – Drink lots of water, as without sufficient water, lymph fluid cannot flow properly.
  10. – Emphasize green vegetables, essential fatty acids (flax seed oil, hemp seeds oil, chia seed oil), fresh raw nuts and seeds (walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds), cranberries and unsweetened cranberry juice, broccoli, sweet potatoes, small fatty fish (sardines, herring, mackerel, anchovies).

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) does not discuss the “lymphatic system” directly, but supporting this system includes supporting the TCM Spleen and Lungs.

  1. – Work on clearing issues of worry, sadness, and grief. Overthinking also weakens the Spleen energies.
  2. – Singing is a great exercise for the Spleen and the Lungs. Enjoy yourself!
  3. – Practice breathing exercises. Deep, slow breaths, whether periodically but regularly or as part of a routine such as in yoga, tai chi, qi gong, or meditation.

Acupuncture, Chinese herbs, supplements (ask me about Lymphdiaral), and other treatments and lifestyle changes can also help.

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Accumulation Diet

This is for ONE person?!

I am recently returned from a trip to Germany and France. I had training in Germany, so I extended the stay for a holiday visit. The training was very helpful. The travel was wonderful. The food…well, the food was different than my usual.

I had never thought of sauerkraut as a vegetable, but my experience in Germany showed me that sauerkraut is thought of there as a salad. The only other vegetable I saw in Germany was spargel, known here as asparagus. Actually, it wouldn’t be recognized here at all, as asparagus there is huge and also white.

While I was traveling, many of my fellow practitioners at Connect Health, back in Vancouver, were in the midst of an elimination diet. An elimination diet is used to help determine foods that might be poorly managed by the body and thus resulting in a variety of symptoms, from fatigue, to bloating, to skin disorders, to headaches, and more.

While they eliminated red meat, I was eating meat almost exclusively in Germany. I don’t think there could be many vegetarians in that country, at least not in Bavaria. While dairy was a no-no for my colleagues and is normally not on my food roster at all, it’s really hard to avoid cheese in France! And, really, I can’t say I wanted to avoid it in France. No sweets, pastries, and breads in Vancouver. More of those over those two weeks for me than I would normally have in months. My husband and I shared a pretzel in Germany that was almost the size of a steering wheel! And, what else would you choose for lunch or a snack in Paris other than a baguette or croissant? You might even wash it down with a coffee, something I have maybe once a week maximum in Vancouver. Finally, I don’t imbibe much at home, but one simply has to try the beer in Germany and the wine in France, doesn’t one? Besides, those beverages seem to be cheaper than water in these two countries!

So, now, back in Vancouver, I’m happy to be back to my usual choice of foods. I do not miss the wurst, the cheese, the beer or wine, or even most of the sweets (though I would have a good croissant if I bumped into one). Yesterday I made a fennel and apple salad with black beans for lunch. And today I prepped two full batches of date and nut protein snacks, half of which I will freeze for future use.

Some of my family and friends think I’m depriving myself by avoiding or limiting a lot of the foods they think of as staples. I think that I feel so much better without those foods and my taste buds have become stronger, able to taste sweet or salty without being flooded. Do you think of fennel as sweet? What about black beans? Eating backwards for a short time was a strong reminder for me that eating the “accumulation diet” is not for me. To modify the quote from Forrest Gump, “Healthy is as healthy does.”

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